A Dream Job For Someone Who Loves Adventure

Not just any Director of Software Engineering

This job comes with safaris.

Off Grid Electric is a growth-stage startup that’s on track to light a million homes in Africa over the next couple years with clean, affordable solar energy (see the articles at the bottom of this post). With a distributed global team concentrated in San Francisco and East Africa, we’re now looking for whip smart software team members who bring lateral thinking, experience-based pragmatism, and fearlessness in the face of the unknown. You will fall in love with this role if you can get passionate about bringing solar energy-as-a-service to off-grid markets — over 1.3 billion people around the world — with the unique social, technical, and business challenges that come along with it. Naturally, you’ll be hungry for adventure, inspired by the opportunity to unleash whole continents of human potential, and motivated to help build a truly epic business.

As a senior member of the software and analytics management team, you’ll be instrumental in hiring and mentoring the engineers who work on new product features and experiences for over 2,000 staff (full-time and commissioned agents) by end of 2015. Our team is responsible for Off Grid’s core platform, Surge, the “operating system for the business.” Surge provides much of the magic behind the three key areas of the operation:

  • Managing our distributed workforce: automatically dispatching and coordinating the activities of thousands of field staff in multiple countries
  • Customer payments and service: enabling all mobile payment transactions and delightful customer interactions for our rapidly growing customer base
  • Distribution and delivery of products: managing the movement of massive numbers of solar systems and appliances such as low energy TVs from factories through home installation.

Off Grid is creating opportunities for thousands of local workers to participate in a high tech startup, and Surge enables us to do this with extreme efficiency, scale, and reliability.

The role will also play a pivotal part in guiding our data-warehousing and analytics projects that allow us to understand exactly what is happening all across the business, experiment with novel ideas, and make operational adjustments in real-time.


  • Architectural chops. You can untangle complex codebases and drive them towards modular systems that reflect a clear design philosophy. You avoid unnecessarily reinventing the wheel, but clearly discern when it’s worth it to purse a more time consuming architectural approach that unlocks strategic benefits.
  • Engineering excellence. You have at least 5 years of industry experience in a variety of contexts, during which you’ve built highly scalable, robust, and fault-tolerant systems. You’re intimate with the whole web stack: front-end, back-end (Ruby on Rails/Node.js), databases, and just as comfortable with modern dev ops including AWS, continuous deployment and Chef. Bonus points if you’re also familiar with Android development and principles of data mining.
  • Bias towards action. You believe that speed and quality aren’t mutually exclusive. You’ve shown good judgement about shipping as fast as possible while still making sure that products are built in a sustainable, responsible way — and you’re comfortable making mistakes, provided you learn from them.
  • Strong teaching skills. You know that the most important part of your job is setting the team up for success. Through mentoring, teaching, and reviewing, you help other engineers make sound architectural decisions, improve their code quality, and get out of their comfort zone.
  • Passion and energy. Because you love what you do, you bring infectious enthusiasm to all your endeavors. You always perform at your absolute best and see new challenges as an opportunity to contribute, make an impact, and grow.
  • Commitment. Off Grid provides an electrical utility to real people who depend on it as a basic necessity. You care tremendously about keeping the Off Grid experience consistent for staff and customers, and strive to make any issues invisible to users. You are your harshest critic and hold yourself personally accountable, jumping in and taking ownership of problems that might not even be in your team’s scope.
  • Hiring acumen. You’re a strong interviewer who constantly raises the bar for excellence. You believe that what seems amazing one day becomes the norm the next day, and that each new hire should significantly improve the team.
  • Design and business vision. You help your team understand requirements beyond the written word. Even in the absence of a PM or a designer, you show great attention to the design and product aspect of anything your team ships.


  • Travel to some of the loveliest and most exotic parts of Africa
  • The opportunity to directly improve millions of lives. By bringing sustainable electricity to a part of the world where 90% of people have no grid access. Few other activities can provide as fundamental impact to human lives as this.
  • Some of the smartest, most committed, and hardest working co-workers in a distributed environment

Let’s Connect

Send us info about yourself to software-jobs@offgrid-electric.com. We’ll get the ball rolling from there!

The world is watching

A sleepy lion I passed on a recent trip to the bush — Thor